All of our wines are estate grown at Bell Hill and go back to our first four vintages of Old Weka Pass Road Pinot Noir from 1999 to 2002 before our inaugural Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2003 vintage and Bell Hill Chardonnay 2004 vintage.




The 2017 vintage began with a mild winter and spring giving an early start to the season. Frost events were not too frequent with water applied twice and the wind machine running three times. Some drizzle during flowering caused lower fruit set. It was very windy from New Year’s until the first week of February, slowing down the initial early start to the season. We fruit thinned and followed with green harvest to even up bunch ripeness. Hot weather in mid-February brought us nicely toward the finish line and then came weather! Cyclone weather patterns ensued, one prior to harvest, some select picks after that and the second cyclone seeing us react to picking remaining blocks early. It was a classic case of being adaptive and “pick it or lose it”, but it regenerated our initial sparkling programme we started in the early years at Bell Hill and has given us something to build on from here. Serendipitously, we had just received our new (to us) press with a long cycle (no crumble) sparkling press programme. Volumes of still wine for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay were thereby reduced and the early vintage which came to an end on April 11th, fast and furious.

We made a start with the Shelf 1998 and Shelf West Pinot Noir on March 31st, followed by a select pick of the Shelf Top 2006-2008 Pinot Noir and Shelf Top 1998-2007 Chardonnay on April 1st. We were moving through several cyclonic weather patterns and resumed picking on April 7th to April 10th for Chardonnay (Shelf 2007-2008; Roadblock, Limeworks 1999 & 2009) and April 8th to 9th Pinot Noir (Quarry Rootlings, Shelf Top 2006-2008, Shelf Bottom 2007-2008, and Shelf West Block A). Therein we laid to rest the still wine programme and allocated fruit for sparkling wine – these MC parcels include a small amount of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (Slope; the lower part of Shelf West B Block; Roadblock & Quarry 10/5).

Details on the 2016 vintage for the 2016 Single Parcel Limeworks Chardonnay can be found here.

Our winemaking philosophy is simple, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blocks are multi-cloned and harvested, fermented, pressed, put to barrel separately as individual blocks. This allows us to follow the evolution of the parcels for a year before making blending decisions and gives opportunities to evaluate single parcel potential. When we have good volume, we can split blocks in half for winemaking trials. The yeasts are natural, coming from the vineyard, with small natural starters from each parcel after the fruit has been processed into its fermenting vat (PN) or pressed into tank (CH). Malolactic fermentation is 100%, also natural. No fining or clarification agents are used, and filtration is minimal – coarse filtering for Chardonnay, the same for Pinot Noir from the racking valve down, or not at all. For Chardonnay, the first addition of sulphur is at 12 months when the wine comes out of barrel into tank. Pinot Noir sees an addition of sulphur at processing to protect the fruit during its cold maceration time and acid adjustments in the fermenter to stabilise pH for long term stability, colour, and ageing. The wine is then left alone and sulphured in tank after barrel ageing for 12 months. Small sulphur adjustments are made, if necessary, just before bottling.


The Bell Hill Pinot Noir is a barrel blend of the Shelf parcels, the Shelf West (Top & A), and Quarry (Rootlings). All the fruit was destemmed giving lots of whole berries. The ferments had 24 to 27 days on skins with cold pre-ferment and warm post-ferment macerations. After basket pressing, the wine went into 100% new French oak, it was racked and blended after 12 months and had 9 months in tank before bottling on the 31st of January 2019 with pH of 3.68, TA of 5.0 g/L and an alcohol of 12%. 2,576 bottles were produced.

Earthy, lifted nose, essences of herbs and berries, bright, vibrant red fruit, some coolness, with a pretty, floral lift. Savoury sous bois, mineral core, quite tightly wound, fine textural tannins, has elegance and length, unctuous fruit, very bright mobile blue fruit with a touch of blood orange and iron. Good structure with purity of fruit and fine, textural tannins with a lingering finish. NZ$135


The Bell Hill Chardonnay is a barrel blend of the Shelf, Limeworks (2009 & 1999 blocks), and Roadblock. The fruit was all whole cluster pressed in our new tank press followed by 12 months in French oak (25% new), 9 months in tank and then bottled on the 31st of January 2019 with a pH of 3.3, TA of 7.0 g/L, and alcohol of 12%. 1,887 bottles were produced.

Pure mineral with tarte au citron nose, light, lifted florals, complementing an ozone and sunshine on wet stones aroma. The palate is very expressive, leading in with citrus-edged tension of juicy acidity. Fine, linear, very close-knit fruit and acid with a tactile oyster shell presence in the mid palate and focused fruit core, some brioche, toasty richness to the elegant core. Salivating and flowing, salty grapefruit with tapered mineral and lengthy finish. Needs time to relax and unfurl. NZ$135


The Limeworks Block was first planted in 1999, at that time in two parcels, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In 2009 the Pinot Noir parcel was replanted with Chardonnay. Harvested on the 6th and 19th of April 2016, this Single Parcel Limeworks Chardonnay is a select barrel blend from the Limeworks block 1999 (43%) and 2009 (53%). The Limeworks 1999 fruit was whole cluster pressed while the 2009 fruit was crushed but not de-stemmed. The wines were fermented with their own natural yeast and natural malolactic fermentation during the 12 months of elevage in French oak (43% new) and 7 months in tank. Bottled on the 3rd of November 2017 with a pH of 3.33, TA of 6.6 g/L, and alcohol of 13%. 639 bottles were produced.

It is no surprise, given Chardonnay’s unique ability to express site, that our first Single Parcel is from the Limeworks Block. A detailed nose of wet river stones with chalky, mineral lift, filling the glass with an intensity of the distinctive voice from the site. These are the oldest Chardonnay vines planted at Bell Hill and show a level of detail and complexity that is not shouting from the rooftops but expresses quiet sophistication. There’s a richness on first impact that is very mouth-watering with vibrant acidity delineating layers of fruit and promoting the length to the back of the palate. The tactile, oyster-shell structure and combination of saline acidity and fruit is really the hallmark on the palate showing the individuality of this parcel. The wine speaks with authority and calmness - the voice of the Limeworks block. There is elegance and power on the finish, harbouring great tension and balance. It lingers and closes with impressions of white florals amongst rays of sunshine, combined with pure energetic drive and nervosity. This wine is good company, enjoy!